Country Life

Celebrating a world of flavors

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

The 2022 theme for National Nutrition Month is Celebrate a World of Flavors. No matter the theme, most of the key messaging for National Nutrition Month stays consistent. Eat a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups, read nutrition facts, create grocery store lists, make healthful choices in dining out and seek credible nutrition advise from a registered dietitian, yada, yada, yada. These messages are nothing new in the 35-plus years I’ve been promoting nutrition. This year’s theme brought out a few new appealing ones relating to the cultures and flavors around the world.

Try new flavors and food from around the world
This might entail a little work for most of us. It means getting out of your home-on-the-range cooking skills and menu planning of meat and potatoes. It means more than going to the local cantina for a margarita and some chips and salsa.… Continue reading

Read More »

ODA gives inaugural awards for dedication to water quality

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) showed its appreciation for exceptional leadership and commitment to conservation by honoring the Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District, Legacy Farmers’ Cooperative, and Steve Davis of the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

The awards were presented by ODA Director Dorothy Pelanda at the 2022 Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Annual Partnership Meeting.

The H2Ohio Lifetime Conservation Advocate Award recognizes those who exhibit exceptional leadership and commitment to water quality through H2Ohio. Recipients of this award are devoted stewards of water quality improvement and conservation who demonstrate innovation, partnership, enthusiasm, and a “get it done” attitude. The recipients were chosen from three categories:  agricultural retailers, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and conservation-minded individuals.

This recognition supports Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term, involving ODA, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Lake Erie Commission.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative Assessment Survey Report reveals conservation progress

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) hosted a panel discussion on the findings of its 2021 Assessment Survey Report on practices being used by farmers in the Lower Maumee watershed to manage water and nutrients. The assessment results show ample conservation efforts, as well as areas for improvement and continued farmer education and resourcing by OACI. 

“Our assessment survey shows us that farmers in the Lower Maumee Watershed are taking conservation practices and their stewardship of the land seriously,” said Kris Swartz, farmer and Chair, Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative. “We also recognize room for improvement and OACI will continue to provide resources and educate farmers in our ongoing effort to increase adoption of productive conservation practices. We encourage Ohio’s farmers to get involved in the OACI’s Farmer Certification Program, H2Ohio and other conservation focused programs to learn about new practices and share information.”

The survey results establish a baseline of adoption for various farming practices in the Lower Maumee watershed.… Continue reading

Read More »

Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week

By Cyndie Shearing, director of communications at the American Farm Bureau Federation

It’s widely accepted that professional development (continually developing and improving one’s skills) is important in many careers. This includes agribusiness professionals and even farmers and ranchers – America’s food, fiber and renewable fuel producers.
Professional development may look a bit different for farmers and ranchers, though. For example, Farm Bureau members across the country are participating in Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week, Feb. 28 – March 6. During this week, with its theme “Driving Safety Home,” they will learn more about agricultural safety and share with others in a variety of ways, including on social media.
The U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers will join Farm Bureau grassroots members in promoting ag safety with a focus on a different topic each day:
Monday, Feb. 28 – Farmer Roadway Safety (farmer perspective)
Tuesday, March 1 – Caretaker Support (caring for aging or ill family members)
Wednesday, March 2 – General Farmer Wellness (staying healthy overall)
Thursday, March 3 – Mental Health (coping with stress)
Friday, March 4 – Community Roadway Safety (motorist perspective)
Farmers and ranchers promoting ag safety will be sharing messages on social media using hashtags including #KeepFarmsSafe, #ASAP21 and #USAgCenters.… Continue reading

Read More »

Legislative update in Ohio

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

February brought renewed activity at Ohio’s Statehouse as both the House and Senate returned to their regular committee schedules. The General Assembly began tending to several pieces of agricultural and resource legislation.  Here’s the latest summary of our state’s legislative developments.

Newly introduced Ohio legislation

H.C.R. 41 — Repeal individual income tax. Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout) introduced a resolution on Jan. 25, 2022 expressing an intent for the General Assembly to repeal the state personal income tax within ten years.  The resolution matches S.C.R. 13, introduced in the Senate last December, and both resolutions cite negative impacts on Ohio’s business climate as justification for the repeal.  The House Ways and Means Committee already held a first hearing on the resolution on Feb. 15, 2022.

Legislation on the move

H.B. 30 —  Slow-moving vehicles. Continue reading

Read More »

Ag Link Deposit Program accepting loan applications

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

The State Treasurer of Ohio is now accepting applications for the Ohio Agricultural Linked Deposit Program. The program provides operating loans up to $150,000 at an interest rate up to three percent. The program helps farmers and agribusinesses with upfront operating costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, and other expenses by providing interest rate reductions on new or existing loans at eligible financial institutions.


Loan application requirements for farms and agribusinesses are simple and include the following:

  • Must be organized for profit;
  • Must have headquarters and 51% of operations maintained in Ohio;
  • Muse use the loan exclusively for agricultural purposes; and
  • Must agree to comply with all program and financial institution regulations.

How the program works

Farmers and agribusinesses contact a participating lender who will submit the application. Once submitted, the Treasurer’s office begins the review process. If all eligibility requirements are met, the application is approved.… Continue reading

Read More »

Best deer harvest nationally in more than two decades

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

With Ohio’s whitetail hunting season recently wrapped, I found it interesting that hunters nationally harvested an estimated 6.3 million whitetailed deer in the 2020-21 hunting season, the most since 2011. That’s according to the National Deer Association’s latest Deer Report, which also noted that harvests of both antlered bucks and antlerless deer were up over the 2019 season, but the estimated buck harvest of 3,041,544 was the most in 21 years.

“2020 saw the highest buck harvest in the new century, and amazingly we estimate that we set another new record for the percentage of those bucks that were 3.5 years old or older,” said Kip Adams, NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer. “U.S. hunters are taking fewer yearling bucks and killing more of them as mature deer, but this doesn’t mean fewer bucks harvested overall. We’re killing older bucks and more bucks than ever in America.”… Continue reading

Read More »

New vaccine a world-wide game changer against COVID

By Don “Doc” Sanders

I have had more than enough of Dr. Fauci’s pronouncements. Mind you, I also contracted SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, after my wife, Kris, passed away from it. And I have been vaccinated twice with Moderna’s messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine since then. 

If you are an old codger (or codgeress) reading this, get vaccinated. If you are young with no predisposing conditions, I wouldn’t get vaccinated or subject healthy children to it.

In the past month, there has been a huge game-changer in COVID vaccines developed without the brand-new mRNA vaccine technologies, which haven’t yet withstood the test of time for people of child-bearing age. I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with the new vaccines, but there is no research regarding their long-term effects on reproduction and metabolic and genetic-regulated systems in growing children and young adults. (Most of you probably don’t know the story on the medication Thalidomide in pregnant women, but look it up.)… Continue reading

Read More »

ODA accepting specialty grant proposals

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. To qualify, the grants must be used to support projects that raise awareness about and increase demand for specialty crops grown in Ohio. Eligible specialty crops include both fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. 

Successful grant applications should explain how projects will improve specialty crop production through marketing and promotions, research and development, expanding availability and access to specialty crops, or addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers. Projects that demonstrate profit potential for growers and that could boost employment opportunities in the specialty crop industry are prioritized.

Ohio’s food and agricultural non-profit organizations, associations or commodity groups, universities and research institutions are eligible to apply. Private individuals and businesses are not eligible for this grant and applications for projects that directly benefit a particular product or generate a profit for a single organization, institution or individual will not be awarded.… Continue reading

Read More »

Water battle continues in Idaho case

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

In 2004, Michael and Chantell Sackett purchased a vacant lot of .63 acres in a rural residential area in Bonner County near Priest Lake in northern Idaho. The property is about 300 feet from the lake and, on the other side, across a road from a tributary of a creek that feeds into the lake. The EPA says that the land is connected to the lake through a subsurface flow of water. 

The Sacketts planned to build a home on the property and obtained local permits in 2007. The construction of the house has never started because the Sacketts have been in a legal fight with the EPA over the issue of wetlands for 15 years.

While making initial building preparations, the Sacketts received an Administrative Compliance Order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging the deposit of fill onto their property constituted an unlawful discharge of pollutants into the waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act (CWA).… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio agriculture groups share recommendations for Expo Center site

Emphasizing that agriculture is one of the largest and most important economic sectors in Ohio, nine major Ohio agriculture groups released recommendations to modernize the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair. These proposals were sent to Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Expo and State Fair Commission, the State of Ohio, other public sector leaders and influencers, as well as the Ohio Expo 2050 Task Force, which the governor created to develop and recommend a long-term vision for the Ohio Expo Center. The recommendations were shared to ensure that the input, ideas and concerns of the agriculture industry, including preserving the current location and footprint with a strong investment for improvements, are properly incorporated into the state’s new Vision Plan. 

The groups include the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio Soybean Association.… Continue reading

Read More »

Searching for Ohio’s Bigfoot

By Mike Ryan, OCJ Field Reporter

Wanted, Bigfoot: Bipedal creature that is fast and agile, fluid and smooth in movement, with a hairy coat of brown, black, red, or salt and pepper. Stands 8 or 9 feet tall. Excellent tree climber and swimmer that will eat just about anything. Last seen ranging across the Buckeye state. 

Ohio is a Bigfoot sighting hot spot that has even been the subject of national media attention in recent years due to the large number of reported encounters that continue to accumulate across the state. The Grassman, as Ohio’s Bigfoot is known, has been reportedly seen in various Ohio locations, with the Appalachian foothills of eastern Ohio being its predominant haunting grounds.

Author Doug Waller, of Muskingum county, is a longtime Bigfoot enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge about Bigfoot and cryptid lore. Doug has published 5 books on Bigfoot with another one in the works.… Continue reading

Read More »

The 2022 Ohio State Fair is on!

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Expo Center & State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler announced that the 2022 Ohio State Fair will run from July 27 to August 7.

“The Ohio State Fair brings people together. It’s a place where we can all celebrate our great state and make memories that will last a lifetime,” said Governor DeWine. “Fran and I absolutely love fairs, none more than the Ohio State Fair. We have experienced so many remarkable moments with our children and grandchildren at fairs over the years, and this summer, we can’t wait to enjoy the Ohio State Fair once again.”

This year’s 167th Ohio State Fair is possible thanks to the hard work of thousands of staff members, exhibitors, volunteers, vendors, partners, performers, concessionaires, youth leaders, and sponsors. At this time, the Ohio State Fair staff are actively working on enhancements that will make this year’s Ohio State Fair safe, fun, and memorable.… Continue reading

Read More »

New program pays landowners, expands Ohio hunting access

By Matt Reese

Hunters can bring value and many benefits to landowners around the state of Ohio. They can also be the source of headaches and challenges for landowners.

In an attempt to minimize the challenges and maximize the benefits of good hunter-landowner relationships in the state, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife has created the Ohio Landowner Hunter Access Partnership (OLHAP) Program.

“It is kind of an improvement over a previous project where they tried to pair landowners who allowed hunting access on their property with hunters. This is a little bit of a change now because there is a payment from the Division of Wildlife to the landowners. Ohio applied for a grant and was awarded farm bill money for the program,” said Tommy Springer, the education/wildlife specialist for Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District. “Any landowners interested in signing up for the program can sign up small to large acreage.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio State installs, commissions new pilot-scale ultra-shear technology equipment for liquid foods and beverages processing

Food processing companies looking for innovative new ways to preserve clean-label liquid food without artificial preservatives will soon have a new option to do so thanks to new technology being developed at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

Researchers in the CFAES departments of Food Science and Technology as well as Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) have installed and commissioned a new, innovative manufacturing technology that preserves foods and beverages using wholesome, recognizable ingredients; no artificial preservatives; and reduced heat. And they will soon launch an outreach program to food and beverage companies to join the Food Industry Consortium to begin using the new technology.

Called BaroShear MAX ultra-shear technology (UST), this new method of high-pressure-based shear technology will allow beverage companies to manufacture healthier beverages by reducing thermal exposure through the combined application of elevated pressure, shear, and controlled times and temperatures. 

The result?… Continue reading

Read More »

A look forward at the supply chain

A conversation with….

Robert Fox, director of the Knowledge Exchange Division for CoBank

OCJ: So what is the outlook for agriculture as we move in 2022?

Robert: I’m pretty confident 2022 is going to be a nice year for agriculture in general. Commodity prices are very strong and fundamentally supported. I don’t have too much concern about a decline in prices. Of course, commodities are natural hedge for inflation. If inflation become a further concern, I see commodity prices escalating with that. I know people have been concerned about input costs, and rightly so. Still, prices are strong enough to withstand those input costs.

We are left with some wildcard events. One is the COVID Omicron outbreak in China. Up to this point China has had a zero-COVID policy. They have been very rigorous and have been able to control COVID in China. Omicron is a different beast and if it starts to spread in China we don’t know how aggressive they will be in shutting down plants and ports.… Continue reading

Read More »

Upcoming Western Lake Erie Basin conservation practices public input meeting

By Rachel Cochran, Ohio State University Extension

Join OSU Extension’s Water Quality Associates on Tuesday, Feb. 22 from 10-11 a.m. for a public input meeting regarding on-farm conservation practices. This webinar is aimed toward farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin who farm or live near our target watersheds. This virtual webinar will allow OSU’s Water Quality team to hear directly from farmers and landowners to guide local watershed planning efforts and funding priorities. What conservation practices do you want to learn more about? Are there practices that you think may work for your farm, but you don’t know where to start? Are there practices you are interested in if additional funding or support becomes available? Join us for an informal discussion to talk about these topics.

Register for this webinar at, or contact a Water Quality Extension Associate to give your input if you can’t attend the meeting.… Continue reading

Read More »

Long live the filibuster!

By Brooke Appleton, Vice President of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association

When people ask what worries me most about the political divisions in Congress, I tell them that one of my biggest concerns is the Senate eliminating the filibuster.

That’s not only because it would do away with an important tool that encourages bipartisanship, but also because the demise of this practice, which allows for extended debate that prevents legislation from advancing without a 60-vote threshold, could have serious ramifications for farm policy. While the filibuster’s downfall is not as imminent as some would like, thanks to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), it is perhaps closer to being eliminated than at any other time in American history.

And while many see eliminating the Senate filibuster as the means to an important end, including passing voting rights legislation, climate policy and circumventing stagnation from a hyper-partisan political climate, I would caution these advocates to consider all that would be lost if the filibuster were no longer part of the Senate rules.… Continue reading

Read More »

Eminent domain, broadband and infrastructure the focus of Ag Day at the Capital

By Matt Reese

The weather cooperated beautifully for the 2022 Ag Day at the Capital where Ohio Farm Bureau members from around the state visited Columbus to meet their legislators face-to-face and discuss the issues of the day.

“Getting in front of your legislator has a big impact for them and for us,” said Kyle Brown, president of Wyandot County Farm Bureau. “I think it really means a lot to them and it shows your dedication to your subject matter. It resonates a little more when you take the time to meet with them in person.” 

The group heard a fiery keynote presentation on the vital role of the Ohio Supreme Court from Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy before heading out for meetings with legislators. Key priorities for Ohio Farm Bureau in 2022 include rural broadband, landowner rights and infrastructure development.

“This is the opportunity we take to unveil our Ohio Agricultural and Rural Communities Action Plan, which is essentially the issues we are going to prioritize for the year.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA extends due date to March 7 for National Agricultural Classification Survey

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) wants recipients of the National Agricultural Classification Survey (NACS) to know that there is still time to respond. Mailed last December to more than a million potential U.S. agricultural producers, the NACS collects data on agricultural activity and basic farm information. These data will be used to build a survey recipient list for the 2022 Census of Agriculture. Response to the NACS is required by federal law for all who receive the questionnaire, even if the recipient is not an active farmer or rancher. Questionnaires can be completed securely online at, by mail or phone. The response deadline is extended to March 7. 

“Filling out the NACS is one of the most important steps to determining who should receive the Census of Agriculture questionnaire this fall,” said Barbara Rater, Census and Survey Division Director. “The influential Census of Agriculture dataset is used by many — from local and federal governments, to educators, researchers, agribusinesses, media and more — impacting decisions that affect producers, their farms, families, communities, industries, and the nation. … Continue reading

Read More »